Chinese Version

They need love.

Oldster   - David Lin on 10/01/1997

In the front yard, Fatty barked at Oldster again, over who gets the blanket on the floor. Although Oldster is at least five times bigger than Fatty, old age and blindness have kept him on the sideline most of the time, looking either guilty or depressed. I called off Fatty and bent down to hold this old dog with his ratty fur. Like an old man, it takes more time to listen to an old dog's murmuring.

When Oldster first came here, his skin was covered with all kinds of problems. To help him heal, I had to shave off his hair completely. No one could figure out how old he was, or believe that he was part Siberian Husky. His teeth were worn and black. His eyes were like a thick fog due to severe cataracts. Whatever the age he was, he was definitely old.

It was a challenge to take care of him at first. He had diarrhea for six months. Although time was against him, he slowly got better each day. The cataracts severely limited his eyesight to only 10 to 20%. More than once he walked into a wall in bright daylight, or fell down the stairs. Despite all the aches and pains, Oldster never complained.

He learned new ways to communicate his feelings. When he got excited, Oldster would turn in circles like a stormy tornedo. He like to sleep throughout the day, but when he is awake, his favorite activity was to scratch his nose against my thigh. Each time he leaves me shaking my head while cleaning dog drool off my pants.

For the most part, Oldster would stand apart from the other dogs. He preferred to be alone in that aloof way of his. But at 5:00 PM on the dot, he is like a sharp dinner bell, "woof, woof, it's time to eat!" You can never tell from his loud barks that he was an old dog.

He would wait by his food bowl, more nervously than others, anxious to be the first one to snatch the food. Often time, my mother would almost get bitten by him as she puts the food down. I had no choice. The only solution was to snap his collar to a chain in order to serve him dinner.

When the chain comes around, I am always amazed at his physical strength and aggressiveness towards food. From the way he breaks out in loud cries, I am astonished at his possessiveness and his attempt to keep me from his dish. I knew in my heart that he must had a hard life before, doing what he had to do, in order to survive. I can only imaging what it would be like to never have a warm place to stay and never have enough to eat. The memory of always feeling hungry must be so vivid that he could never forget.

I remember when I found Oldster at the playground in the park. The only thing hanging from his collar was a wide, flat nylon leash. It was quite evident that the leash was cut off in a hurry. His ex-owner wanted to end their relationship with such urgency that he couldn't even spend the time to unbuckle the leash.

When I watch Oldster falls asleep, I would pray that the nightmare of such injustice and unkindness would never resurface in his dream again. As I stood alone in the yard, the moonlight lit up the tears coming down my face. The intense emotion that I feel for Oldster will once again take a long time to subside.

- translated by by Becky & Gimy, edited by Claire & Daniel on 11/15/2000

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